In the Face of Diversity

All diversity programs are not created equal. Whether you’re working to show that different is better, that even companies can be remixed, or that who you hire matters, diversity programs can fail for any number of reasons.

A recent report issued by Novations and J. Howard & Associates, a global consulting and training firm, suggest the following red flags to watch for:

  • Confusion between diversity and inclusion initiatives Diversity metrics center mostly on representation, whereas inclusion metrics are more likely to reflect organizational health factors, including employee engagement. A diverse company is not necessarily inclusive, and an inclusive company may be just that, with little impact on representation.
  • Isolated diversity function Time and again directors or vice presidents of diversity are siloed and disconnected from other areas of the business. Successful companies insure that diversity initiatives are owned by the business units and held accountable.
  • Focusing just on compliance Metrics driven by compliance do not necessarily translate into changed behavior. Successful organizations seek to internalize the commitment to inclusion and look for evidence in decision-making, promotion criteria, strategic direction and professional development.
  • Blurred vision A new diversity director may want to start fresh and blanket the organization with trainings, cultural awareness events, and activities that look like diversity work. Such a scattershot approach may miss critical targets.

What have you experienced in terms of diversity programs? What helped or hindered their success?